State unemployment rates fall
Janesville’s rate fell 1.2 percent to 5 percent from March, according to Department of Workforce Development Statistics. Janesville’s rate is the second highest—behind Racine—of the 12 metropolitan areas.
Janesville’s rate in April 2007 was 5.4, according to state statistics.
Some of the decline can be attributed to seasonal hiring, said Michael Muthig with the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.
“Some occupations are outdoor work that resume this time of year,” Muthig said.
Muthig was not surprised about the decrease in unemployment, despite layoffs at businesses around the city and Rock County.
“Employment is always sort of in flux,” Muthig said. “There’s a lot of transition in the labor market in Rock County and Janesville.”
Despite bleak reports of layoffs, there are a lot of opportunities for employees in the area, Muthig said. Evidence of that were the 90-plus employers looking to hire at the Rock County Employment Expo on May 6, Muthig said.
Department of Workforce Development economist Dan Barroilhet said it takes time for unemployment statistics to catch up with layoff announcements.
“Generally speaking, unemployment rates are often seen as a lagging indicator,” Barroilhet said. “The rates would tend to be above their trend levels after news has hit, rather than before.”
When a layoff is announced, not every job is lost immediately, Barroilhet said. In some cases the full impact of the layoff will become apparent once employer benefits such as severance pay are exhausted, he said.
Muthig said those who have lost jobs recently should take heart.
“It’s part of life,” Muthig said. “Most people make 14 or more job transitions in a career. This is something that’s going to continue and something we have to get used to.”